An interview with Kate Heppell
Co-creative director of Kip&Co
Please tell us a little bit about Kip&Co - when you started? Who is Kip&Co? How big is your team?
We (me, my sister Hayley and our best buddy Alex) founded Kip&Co in 2012 after we noticed a gap in the market for bright, colourful bedding. Our style is unique, confident and eclectic and the response was immediate and hugely positive - as a result we quickly expanded into a vibrant lifestyle concept with homewares and apparel for every corner of the home, and every member of the family.
We’re all about a better way of living - your best night’s sleep, a meal with loved ones that feeds your soul, memories made on backyard adventures and global wanderings. We love homes that tell a story by celebrating creativity, fun, art, culture and craftsmanship. Importantly we’ve made a personal commitment to minimise the harm to the planet in everything we do, and that means sustainable and ethical considerations come first. Today, our team is made up of about 20 amazing individuals - an incredibly talented group of women who are experts in what they do and share our love of colour and creativity.
What is your role at Kip&Co?
Hayley, Alex and I are co-creative directors. I also manage all product collaborations.
You work with your sister Hayley. What is it like working with family?
This is our 2nd business together - we love working together. We are sisters though and certainly have our ‘sister' moments but we have a really close family and business together feels easy and an excellent fit. It is hard to beat working with your 2 best friends each day. We are really lucky.
You designed the vases as a collaborative effort - largely remotely, working with the three of you in different stages of lockdown. How did you find that process? And what inspired the collection? Please tell us a bit about your design process.
Thanks to Kate, Hannah and Bobby the process was as easy as it could be when done remotely, on a product we had no experience with. We love the process of collaboration, and the creativity and skills behind making something so specialised was really special to see. Particularly seeing the decades of knowledge and skills shared in the RG team, which they so generously shared with us.
For the limited edition vases, the process involved us starting with shapes from the RG archives, then Kate set about trialing slip casting techniques which we knew would form an impressive base to each vase and is a specialised technique that is hard to get this beautiful (RG are wizards at this technique) until we found the right colour combinations.
Finally we got experimenting with different glazes and colours and glazing techniques like wax resist which we have done on 2 of the vases. Ok - it was all a lot trickier than this, and huge amounts of sampling took place, until we got to these 5 special designs that we think are Kip&Co in a vase.
Lastly, what is your favourite piece from the collection?
I am mad on decal plates. I am so excited to get myself a big set. All food will look better on these. Particularly my cooking. And from the Limited edition vase collection I will definitely be getting myself one of each of the large umbrella stand shapes. They are so beautifully crafted by Robert Gordon. We are honoured to have our name on them.
ROBERT GORDON X KIP&CO
Images via Kip&Co